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August 4, 2012Utah landed another big commitment on Saturday as Lakewood (Calif.) wide receiver X'avier Shepherd made the call while on an unofficial visit to Salt Lake City.
For Shepherd, who also holds offers from UCLA, Arizona, Colorado, Cal, Oregon State and Fresno State, Utah was a school that has been on his radar for a long time.
"I've been looking into Utah for a while now. I had watched a few games, and once I got an offer I started looking into it a lot and liked what I saw. I kept digging deep, looking into the depth chart, looking into the coaches, seeing their reputation. Utah has always been a great team. They're an up-and-coming powerhouse and I felt like I would like to be a part of that," Shepherd said.
Shepherd had been high on Utah for weeks, but it was an unofficial visit to the campus this weekend that convinced the talented wideout that the Utes were the best fit. "I came up there to make sure it was really what I wanted. I talked to my parents about it and we made the trip. After a few talks with the coaches and a few tours making sure that it was what I wanted to do, it felt like being a Ute would be the best thing for me," he explained.
During his visit, Shepherd had the opportunity to take in a Utah practice as they prepare for the upcoming season. "We got here and walked right into the warm-ups. I got to see the team practice. I loved the tempo and the emotion that the team plays with. They're like a family, and it was exactly what I'm looking for. Once I saw that, I started talking to coaches and being introduced to lots of different coaches. They all told me they had all watched my highlight tape, and how it would be a great fit for me to play there," he said.
Shepherd took the opportunity to talk at length with the Utah offensive coaches about what his role will be once he joins the team, and he's excited about the opportunities he sees at Utah. "They're saying that they really like my speed. They like how I ran. They talked about how they could put me in the slot, and if I needed to I could go deep. They said that anything is possible if I come in and start working for a spot. They give everyone an equal opportunity to come in and earn the right to play," he said.
Shepherd was especially grateful that he had the chance to see Utah firsthand before committing. "It was a great visit. I'm glad I got to come up here. The whole coaching staff is just amazing. I'm really looking forward to working with them and I'm confident that I made the right decision. I look forward to doing some damage with the Utes," he said.